Walking Route:Walking Trail from Rhayader at Cwm Elan | Elan Valley & Visitor Centreadd to shortlist

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Elan Valley

Elan Valley

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Elan Valley

Walking Route, free entry

Nr Rhayader,



The Elan Valley Trail is a linear path following the line of the old Birmingham Corporation Railway. The trail starts in Cwmdauddwr, just west of Rhayader and finishes 13 km (8 miles) further up the Elan Valley at Craig Goch Dam.

The trail is virtually flat and has self-closing gates, picnic sites and regular stopping points with seating where you can rest and enjoy the views. Following the line of the railway used in the building of the dams, the Elan Valley Trail is suitable for walkers, cyclists, horse riders and the less-able.

Although the reservoirs are too deep and steep-sided to attract much wildlife, the surrounding oak woodlands have an abundance of wildlife, plantlife and birdlife. Ravens, buzzards, peregrines and red kites can all be seen overhead, while great crested grebe and goosander breed on the water.

The start of the Trail is located just out of Cwmdauddwr, west of Rhayader along the B4518. Opposite the start is a small car park (grid reference SN 966677). The start is marked by a sculptural gateway by artist Reece Ingram. About ½ km along the Trail you reach the Radnorshire Wildlife Trust Reserve of Rhayader Tunnel.

Continue towards the Elan Estate for another 3.5 km where you reach a left turn at a road T- junction. From here you follow the road down the hill for 1/2km to the Elan Valley Visitor Centre, or cross the road and continue along the next section of the Trail.

The Trail continues for a further 9km up the Elan Valley to Craig Goch Dam. At 1km intervals you will see sculptural benches, created by artist Dominic Clare, the first of which is located just past Caban Coch Dam. Continue alongside the waters of Caban Coch Reservoir to Garreg Ddu.

From here you may wish to cross the viaduct for a closer look at Nantgwyllt Church. Otherwise continue across the road past the Foel Tower. The Foel Tower is the point at which water is extracted from the reservoirs before starting its 118 km journey to Birmingham by gravity.

Continue along Garreg Ddu Reservoir for 3km then cross the road and continue up the gradual incline up through the trees to the top of Pen y Garreg Dam. The track now levels out and passes alongside Pen y Garreg Reservoir. About 1km along from Pen y Garreg Dam, you will pass through Devil's Gulch.

The final stretch of the Trail takes you to Craig Goch Dam, this is the end of the Elan Valley Trail and was the terminus of the railway.

Walk Route: Moderate

Access: Traffic free. Tarmac & gravel

Duration: 3-4 hours

Miles: 9

Baby changing facilitiesCoach parties acceptedCredit cards accepted (no fee)Credit cards accepted (with charge)Disabled toiletsEducation/study areaFacilities for groupsFacilities for educational visitsGift shopOn-site cateringOn-site light refreshmentsPicnic sitePostboxPublic toiletsWelcome HostAccepts groupsElectric car charging point

Children welcomeMobility Accessibility FacilitiesDogs accepted

Please note that the amenities listed can be found at the Elan Valley Visitor Centre rather than relating to the whole Estate. 2 EV Charging Points. Parking Charge per vehicle.

Opening Details

Open all the time

The Elan Valley Trail is open throughout the year.


Free entry

Car parking: £3.00


Nr Rhayader,

Location and nearby places


Plan route to Cwm Elan | Elan Valley and Visitor Centre using Google mapsPlan route using Google maps

Map reference: SN 928646  Lat: 52.26932 Long: -3.57227


By Car: The Elan Valley is 3 miles from the town of Rhyader on an unclassified road leading from the B4518. The town of Rhyader is crossed by the main A470 (North/South) and A44 (East) roads. £2.50 car parking charge covers you for the whole of the Estate's car parks, all day.

Season tickets for car parking are also available, costing £20 for twelve months, please ask at the Visitor Centre Information Desk.
There are two electric charging points located at the Visitor Centre Car Park.

By Public Transport: Rhayader has no train station (the nearest being Llandrindod Wells) but is connected by a local bus network. The Elan Valley is connected by local public transport via Rhayader on request/pre-booking ONLY.


Parking: with charge


  • Baby changing facilitiesBaby changing facilities
  • Coach parties acceptedCoach parties accepted
  • Credit cards accepted (no fee)Credit cards accepted (no fee)
  • Credit cards accepted (with charge)Credit cards accepted (with charge)
  • Disabled toiletsDisabled toilets
  • Education/study areaEducation/study area
  • Facilities for groupsFacilities for groups
  • Facilities for educational visitsFacilities for educational visits
  • Gift shopGift shop
  • On-site cateringOn-site catering
  • On-site light refreshmentsOn-site light refreshments
  • Picnic sitePicnic site
  • PostboxPostbox
  • Public toiletsPublic toilets
  • Welcome HostWelcome Host
  • Accepts groupsAccepts groups
  • Electric car charging pointElectric car charging point
  • Children welcomeChildren welcome
  • Mobility Accessibility FacilitiesMobility Accessibility Facilities
  • Dogs acceptedDogs accepted

Please note that the amenities listed can be found at the Elan Valley Visitor Centre rather than relating to the whole Estate. 2 EV Charging Points. Parking Charge per vehicle.

Self-Assessed Accessibility Details


  • YesDesignated parking for guests with disabilities
    • YesWithin 50 metres approx. of entrance
  • The surface of the car park and pathway leading to entrance:
    • Yesis solid
  • YesDrop-off point for guests outside entrance

Public Areas

  • Level access (no steps/thresholds) or access by ramp or lift:
    • YesFrom the entrance to reception / ticket area
    • YesTo a specially adapted public toilet suitable for wheelchair users
    • YesTo the gift shop
  • YesGood contrast between the floor and walls
  • YesContrast markings on clear surfaces such as glass doors
  • YesBaby changing facilities
  • YesHearing loop installed in public areas


  • YesSeating available for visitors with limited mobility
  • YesClear signage
  • YesEffective lighting for visually impaired visitors
  • YesGood colour/tonal contrast for visually impaired visitors
  • YesRoutes/pathways suitable for wheelchair users or visitors with limited mobility
  • YesDisplays at suitable height for wheelchair users / children
  • YesAudible alarm system


  • YesEntrance is well lit


  • YesLevel access (no steps/thresholds) or access by ramp or lift to cafeteria
  • YesGood contrast between the floor and walls
  • YesMenus available in large print (14pt and over)
  • Restaurant / cafe provide meals for visitors with special dietary requirements:
    • YesSugar free (diabetic)
    • YesGluten free (coeliacs)
    • YesNut free
    • YesVegetarian
  • YesSeating suitable for wheelchair users, ie moveable and good height for person sitting in a wheelchair
  • YesHigh chairs for children
  • YesChildren's menu
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